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In Other News – 16 April 2014

FFD: Is companion gaming a fad, or the future?

FFD05072013

One thing that was quite prevalent at E3 this year was companion gaming; a second-screen provided by a tablet, smartphone or handheld that augments or enhances traditional gameplay. Some of the most intriguing games this year make use of the feature, including The Division and Watch Dogs from Ubisoft, Dead Rising 3 from Capcom, and even Battlefield 4 – which allows “commanders” to take control of the battlefield with a birds-eye view from a tablet or PC.

Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV and Bungie’s Destiny will also use a second-screen, for things like maps and waypoints, while The Crew will let you set up games and swish up your vehicle’s livery on your phone before jumping in to race on your console or PC later.

It was definitely one of the major trends from E3, supplanting forced motion control as the tech du jour from years past. Is second-screen or companion gaming something that interests you?

Is it something that you feel could actually be beneficial to videogames, or is it a mere fad, destined to be relegated, much like motion control has been?

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • ElimiNathan

    Fad AND the future!

    • Tarisma

      I can barely focus on one screen now you want me to use two!!

      • ElimiNathan

        Haha na think its more of a full time role playing on the mobile device, wont play both at the same time

        • Tarisma

          I’m sorry but not a fuck am I in then. Aint no body got time for dat. (at least employed adults. The only reason I have time to comment now is in moving office!

          • Scruff304

            Please, you have a job for two days and now you are an “Employed Adult” Wha-evaaaaaa!

          • Tarisma

            2 days!!! Phaa 6 weeks now and before that I had other jobs

          • ElimiNathan

            Haha I find more than enough time for gaming and I am an “Employed adult” lol

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            I find gaming time, but not more than enough since I prefer spending time with my wife and daughter. And I don’t need a lot of sleep, hence gaming time :)

          • ElimiNathan

            I dont have kids but I can imagine they are a tad more important than playing games eh :D

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            Yeah, plus explaining certain things in gaming to a 4year old is different.

            XCOM is easy to explain. Blue doods are daddy’s dudes, red dudes are bad and they must be shot. And she cheers me on!

          • Tarisma

            Sorry should of said an employed adult who is still studying. I guess since leaving varsity my priorities have changed I used to be happy to sit at home and play games all day. Now I sit inside all day in front of a laptop, all I want to do in my free time is be outside!!!

          • ElimiNathan

            Haha. Welcome to life

    • John Ambitious

      I think the idea is pretty cool.
      But maybe that’s because I now have a tablet and don’t yet know what exactly it’s actually good for.

    • Kyratic

      Great now games can stop having ridiculously large HUD (user interface) ,

      We can start by moving the minimap off to the second screen.
      And now and I need something to mount my phone on next to my screen..

      • ElimiNathan

        Ye good example of a practical application of the idea. It would be awesome

  • Tarisma

    Fad

  • Slade Boender

    I think its pretty damned cool. This should have come out ages ago. The question is though, how much will it affect gameplay for those who do not have the luxury of owning the devices. I think the balance will be prolifically important and the chances of it alienating many gamers I think will be pretty high

    • Hammersteyn

      It slows gaming down to a crawl in my opinion. Maybe if we had eyes like a chameleon?

      • Wtf101

        Or eyes like Rodney Dangerfield?

        • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

          Heh I watched Aladdin with my daughter last night, and DAT FACE oh man!

  • Hammersteyn

    Fat Fad

  • Brett Miller

    It has promise but only in context (BF4 commander mode)
    When it’s forced it will fail.

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    I Think this could be so awesome when used properly. I mean, Picture Aliens,Using your second screen as a constant sensor or a game Like Okami, using the Celestial Brush with the second screen. Nintendo were on to something, pity they are falling so hard

    • Charles Du Plessis

      I couldnt agree with you more.

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    I don’t know

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    I’d like me a weighted companion cube. I really do! Will work great to “deploy” in front of taxi’s trying to do some yellow lane driving!

  • RinceWind

    Well, if you ask OVG, he thinks the idea of Surface is Awesome and he will be front of the line… NO. I think it is a fad, something that has some novelty and maybe in some cases application. But I don’t see people wanting to look down more than straight a head. We are predators, EYES FORWARD, KILL KILL KILL! Not Cow, eyes down, GRASS GRASS MOOO.

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      WHAHAHAHAHAHAHA MOO MOO MOOO

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      mmmmMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOO

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSley

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          MOS MOS MOS!

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            Ek sê jou mos ou

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Dis mos nou hoe mens dit doen mos

          • Sir Twakkus

            …en die groen gras groei daarom.

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            groei mos ne?

          • Sir Twakkus

            Dit is mos nie ‘n vraag nie, dit groei mos netso.

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            Mos groei mos daar waar dit nat is mos?

          • Trevor Davies

            Dit groei mos in die kompos mos?

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            Mos groeie mos enige plek mos. Dit diskrimineer mos teen niks nie mos

          • Sir Twakkus

            Hierdie mos word mos nou heeltemal mos uit die hand geruk…….mos

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            Daar is mos niks fout om mos oor mos te mos praat nie mos

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            What have you done! Now that song is stuck in my head! 0_0

          • Sir Twakkus

            Whahaha… you think that is bad watch this:

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Second screen gaming has a place sure. A second screen that shows your minimap exclusively or inventory so you don’t need to look at it on your primary display can work and will be a welcome feature to have.

    But the companion gaming part (such as a commander taking over gameplay etc) will not become a huge thing I think. Perhaps in team based competitive play but most certainly not mainstream because let’s be honest. While multiplayer is a big thing, one is still usually playing very much alone at home with others who are alone at home. It’s becoming more and more rare to have more than one gamer per device/household simply because the interweb allows connectivity without needing to leave home. (And I’m talking in general terms such as friends playing together. I do understand there are things such as gaming couples ;) )

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      So like mos your wife can mos gooi you ammo mos?

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        like mos yes

        • ElimiNathan

          mos ya

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

    LESS IS MORE.
    1 SCREEN 1 BUTTON PUSH.
    Hopefully in the future it will be Brain impulse and contact lens.

    Tired of all this shit. It is designed to make more money. The Gamecube GBA link was FAIL FAIL FAIL so they go and do it again but instead of a GBA they use a Tablet. WHOOOOOPIE DOOOOOO.

    FAD

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

    Amazing that only 6 years ago it was all about HD 1080, 720 High res 60fps. That was all we talked about, then Widescreen this widescreen that. SONY BRAVIA THIS AND SONY BRAVIA THAT.

    Now it is all about the shitty small screen because they make more money thanks to captivating the users imagination by using touch.

    I cannot play those handhelds anymore even If I am on the move. The screen is just to small.

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      TOO DAMN SMALL

      • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

        Amazing how the coolest cell phone was the smallest and the coolest console kicked out the most resolution.

        Now it is the other way around

        • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

          NOKIA 5510!!!!

  • Trevor Davies

    I don’t see it being a big thing, probably more of an annoyance than anything else. But it could also be a cool function for MP games, 4 – 5 people playing on their machines, another person overseeing tactical control. All depends on implementation – you’ll probably have 1 or 2 cool ones, then everyone will try to do it & they’ll suck at it.

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

    Same with the VITA it does fcking everything but is only going to sell because people enjoy Final Fantasy X the way a game is supposed to be played.

    TECH DEMOS. That is what gaming has become.

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    As a companion screen? Fad.
    As the primary gaming device….absolutely the future.

  • Stefsn

    We have all complained for years that consoles do not relate well to RTS games and that the controller can never replace the accuracy of a keyboard and mouse. On the other hand, it has become abundantly clear that tablet devices and touch interfaces provide a more natural and sometimes “more accurate” input for games. Who knew the iPad would be seen as a gaming device when it came out. Isn’t this the natural progression of things?

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    In my head I just have so many cool ideas how a second screen could be used…the reality of the matter is that most Developers will not use it properly. how bout a stealth game or a game like Watch Dogs. hack into multiple Cameras and display them on the second screen. How about an adventure game like tomb raider, no need for a map, draw your own one. A CSI like game, use the second screen for investigating. Ever play Fatal Frame? use the second sceen as the camera ….. not at all a fad imo, but Developers are too lazy to utilize it in any meaningful way …. OH wow look at dead rising 3, let’s call in an artillery strike with the second screen …..

    • Stefsn

      That does lead to a very interesting point. Should companies develop technologies based on their potential or what they see would be have immediate uptake. The iPad and the first Kinect are two polar examples of this. The iPad exceeded what everyone thought it would be and the Kinect underwhelmed everyone. The success and failure of both can be attributed the perceived monetary gain / effort ratios for developers.

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        Very true, and great point.I believe everything has potential and I believe that when they develop these technologies they are relying on the developers to actually tap into that potential. A device is only as strong as it’s software. Once people start seeing the potential that’s when things will kick off. Kinect too has massive potential , but non of it has ever been fully realized which is why it’s underwhelming

  • silverscorpio

    A big FAD.

  • Nick de Bruyne

    I like the idea of ‘lite’ gaming. In other words, when I am away in DoerandgoneDorp, or on public transport or whatever etc, I like the fact that you can play a mini-game or ‘lite’ version of the game in a way that still lets you join your friends, such as BF commander mode, or The District’s drone stuff.

    Also quite cool that if you are playing Battlefield and your buddy/roommate or whoever just wants to get involved as well, you can chuck them your tablet and let them be commander or whatever. There’s a lot of potential. As for it being a fad, it depends – I think having it add value to the first player as a second screen is a touch fad-ish, but as separate modes and partner-oriented, it could be pretty fantastic and have a lot of potential, all the while still being optional.

  • Tidycpc

    Fad

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